Friday, December 9, 2011

Let Them Learn through Play!

I work at a learning center--the curriculum is based on reading and math and we also implement the Handwriting without Tears program.  A few months ago, we ran a Groupon and it generated a large response.  Interestingly enough, a few parents signed up kids who were younger than three or had just turned three.  This is actually mind-boggling to me.  What exactly do parents expect a three year old to get out of a reading and math program?  They usually don't even want to separate from their parents long enough to do a diagnostic to see how much the child knows.  Usually, we try to interest the parents in the handwriting program (which is really the only part of our program appropriate for such young children) but even that is difficult.  They simply don't have the attention span or the physical ability to even hold a crayon much less trace lines and curves.  I mean, parents know this, don't they?  What do they expect us to do?  Magic?  And not only is it impractical to have three year olds in the program, it's exceedingly disruptive to the older students who are working.  Three year olds will sometimes cry or have a tantrum or even throw things.  It just makes me shake my head in sheer frustration.  I just think it's so obvious.  

The company I work for is a business so we don't make it a practice of turning away potential customers.  We try as much as possible to accommodate folks but why is it that parents won't let their babies be babies?  I actually feel a little deceitful and grimy talking to these parents because I just know their child will get so little out of the program at three.  Just a few more months and it will make a whole lot more sense.  

A three year old is supposed to be spending most of his/her time learning through play!  Not sitting down trying to work out of a book.  In fact, play should be a vital and large part of all children's lives.  

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